Coburg imagines future without Monaco Coach

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COBRUG, Ore. -- RV maker Monaco Coach terminated 2,000 employees here Monday, roughly twice the population of this small town north of Eugene, Ore.

From the hair salon to the antique shops, Coburg is buzzing about Monaco Coach Corporation in the wake of Monday's terminations.

The plant could close for good if the RV maker doesn't secure financing or locate a buyer.

"We will miss the effects of what they had, supporting this store and the coffee shop, this coffee shop," said Vicki Bell, owner of Reflections Salon. "It'll be a big impact, a big loss for us."

The public loses, too: Monaco is Coburg's biggest taxpayer and the eighth largest taxpayer in the Eugene School District 4J, which includes Coburg.

Coburg Mayor Judy Volta said it's too soon to say how Monaco's situation will impact city services.

Coburg's fire chief has already crunched the numbers: Chad Minter said Monaco's property taxes make up 27 percent of the fire district's budget.
    
To trim costs, the fire department instituted wage freezes for their two paid employees and put off minor building improvements.

"There definitely will not be a service cut," Minter said. "There a two paid people in the department, the rest are volunteers and the truth is, the service comes from volunteers."   

The fire department will put off buying a new fire engine to replace on bought in the 1970s.

But Minter said more than the new engine, Coburg will miss Monaco.

"Monaco has been a good neighbor," he said, "they've done us some favors. They painted some fire trucks for us. We hope them the best. The truth is, the only thing that is unfortunate to me right now is that 2,000 more people are out of work."